Well, this is my last email from the MTC and I'm definitely excited. Half of my district is gone already, they left this morning. It feels weird. I'll be right behind them though! We got the weather report from Houston and apparently it has been 70's and 80's all week.
Well, I don't have a ton of time. I have to do all my packing today, and we still have class tonight, so for anyone that wrote me this week, please forgive me for not writing a letter. I'll try my best still tho. Tell Michelle thanks though for her cookies! They were so good!
This week was actually one of the best. I made a good friend with an Elder from a new district. Elder Hazlett. Him, Elder Stubbs and I have been hanging out all week and it has been tons of fun. We have been working out and running together. Elder Hazlett went to BYU before he came here and knows a bunch of people that I know. He is going to walk-on to the basketball team when he gets back and we all are planning on rooming together. (We'll see how long we remember)
I fast and pray for you guys all the time. I learned something interesting that I hope will help you. I heard a talk last week, that actually has helped me to move through the week. I've heard so many talks I can't remember even who it was by, but he said, there's two different kinds of people. There's the in-ward and the out-ward. The in-ward person thinks about things that could affect them temporally. They worry about things like I like to worry about. Sports, school, and things like that. He/her is focused on things of this world. He puts his trust in himself and has little confidence in the Lord. Generally, these people are good latter-day saints. Then, there is the out-ward type of person. The only thing this person focuses on is his own personal worthiness and the worthiness of his family. He makes sure that he does everything he can to come closer to the Lord, support his family and help other people. He knows, that no matter how things are going, that the Lord is taking care of him. Sometimes things went bad, and he had hard times. But, he knew that it was because the Lord was working on him.
I like to think of that talk as a house. Right now, all of us could be comparable to some type of living quarters. Whether it is a shack, or a mansion. When you put faith in the Lord, and follow His commandments, he starts to work on your house. For a shack to turn into a mansion worthy of the Lord to live in He has to do a lot of work. He'll have to tear down walls, and put new ones up. He may even have to change where your foundation is built. It hurts to get your walls knocked down, but you'll never be a mansion without it.
Anyway, when something bad happens and you turn inward and think about how bad things are, that's when the Lord we'll cease to do work on you. So, things may be very hard, things that I could never handle, but, if your are doing everything you can, I promise to anyone that reads this, that whatever is happening is for the best. You can't see the end of the road and the Lord can. But, whatever happens, don't let yourself get down. Satan whispers false things in your head and controls your thoughts when that happens. I promise, it will work out.
Also always look for ways to help other people so you can't think of yourself. Then, when you need help you will have a support system.
That's all I have, I'm 19 and I'm an idiot, but that's the best I can do. I promise, I will pray, fast, and do anything that I can possibly do for you. If you want to write me personally I will be more than happy to talk about any concern. That goes for everybody. (mom, dad, rachel, jared, and anyone else that is reading this) I won't ever tell anyone about anything, I'm more than willing to talk to anyone that needs help. There were times that I just needed someone to talk to and that made a difference.
I'm trying to send some pictures. (one is Stubbs and Hazlett and I and the other is my district) Hope you get them. Let me know what I can do. Tell Jared and Rachel that they will be getting a letter this week. Those are the only ones I'll probably send. Thanks so much for everything. I love you guys a ton. Your support keeps me going. I wouldn't be here without you.
First off, thank you soooooooo much for the stuff you sent me! The razor was easily the best thing ever. My face was starting to hurt from shaving everyday and it's already clearing up. The chocolate covered strawberries worked out great but only lasted a couple days...I loved getting all the letters and stuff from you guys. It was great. I'm going to try to write everyone back today, but if I don't please forgive me. I just got promoted to Zone Leader last week. I now am crazy busy and have time for nothing. Ha but I love it. I have gotten the chance to meet a lot of wonderful people, and a lot of oddballs too...
K, I'm scared I'm going to forget something, so if I do I'll send you a handwritten letter later today. The funniest thing happened this week tho. On Tuesday I tried to break the mile record again and I went 4:48 and broke it. Then two days later A new missionary came in and went 4:42...It was short lived....ha
Also, I'm sad because my best friends in the zone are leaving tonight to Honduras. (Elder Youngblood and Elder Larsen) They were way fun to have around. A couple days ago we had to get extra bunk beds in our room, and we pushed them together and slept in the same room. We've had a lot of fun while we were here. I'm glad I had the chance to meet a lot of these guys. This poor Elder though, (Elder Stubbs) who was my Zone Leader when I first got here, is stuck here still. He has been here for 10 week and he can't leave because of a blood clot that developed in his thigh. His whole district left already so he has been thrown around. He's from Moab and we actually started to become pretty good friends. He runs too and he's pretty funny.
I didn't get a letter or email from Jared! What happened?? Also, That's crazy that Cody got his call to St. George. There must be someone there that needs to hear him. That's great to hear about Ben too! Argentina is where it's at! After being here and reading the Book of Mormon all day, I've realized the patterns in the way the Lord works. When it's in the Lord's Will for Rachel it'll work out. I honestly think she should consider a mission though. There's some things that she could learn that would help her with her life.
I'm way jealous they are all down in St. George too. I wish I could be there! I'm so sick of seeing the same things and being inside all day. I can't wait to get out of here.
Speaking of getting out of here, I'm supposed to get travel plans on Thursday. I don't know if I'm going to Argentina or stateside for awhile. I won't know if I leave Monday or Tuesday until then too. So, for all I know right now I could leave at 3 in the morning on Monday morning and not get a chance to call you...ha but I'll try to keep you in the loop as much I can. Also, I think I'm going to send home one of my suits for when I come home. They say that I will hardly ever use a suit. So I might be sending home some things. I'm not positive yet, but at least it won't be a surprise for when you get it.
So my back is pretty much the worst thing in the world right now. It hurts constantly. Then I got bronchitis. So I'm coughing like crazy and it hurts even worse. Ha, so it's kind of hard right now.
Oh, actually I will definitely be sending you a letter in the mail. I have a crazy story to tell you about, but I don't think I'll have time to say it over an email.
Thanks so much for everything you have sent me, I appreciate it so much. I know it's not cheap to send things. Thanks for sending letters this week too. It's great to hear from you throughout the week. Also tell Rachel I'll send her a letter today. Hopefully it'll get to her soon.
I was reading through Alma and heard a talk yesterday that brought some things to light. I was kind of in a slump this week, because I started to wonder why we bothered to ask things in prayer when everything would work according to God's will anyway. Then in Alma 17, it said that they would pray and fast just so they would have a portion of His Spirit to be with them. I realized that's what brings power to your words, by having the Spirit with us. Then in a talk last night there was a story of a missionary who would promise seemingly impossible things. His companion would always get freaked out but he would always be able to do the things he promised somehow. He asked his companion how he knew it would work out. He said, that he did everything in his power to be exactly obedient to the commandments of God and then prayed and fasted to just have the Spirit be with him to direct his words. Then when it came to situations like that, he could promise these things with confidence and with the Spirit guiding his words. Then he had faith and confidence that it would happen. That really struck me.
Anyway, I think that is it. I can't think of anything else off the top of my head. I'll write anything I remember in my letter. I hope everything is going ok. Let me know if I can do anything for you guys.
So this is my actual email for the week. Sorry I was able to send a longer one at first. So first off, happy birthday dad! I didn't forget. I sent you a card on Saturday, I was hoping it would get there today...Sorry I couldn't do more..I'm a little limited out here.
So this girl in my district, Hermana Stoddard, (which means Sister Stoddard) had surgery and had her gal bladder taken out this week! She was in tons of pain and they kept telling her it was a small kidney stone but they took her to the e.r. one night and found out that her gal bladder was swelling and disgusting so they took it out. Luckily, it was an easy surgery and she will not have to go home or even be delayed.
I forgot to tell you guys this last week, but the experienced people in our district left so we got a new district leader...guess who? Yep, this kid. So I'm the district leader here until I leave to my real mission. Thought that was kinda cool, I get these awesome responsibilities now like getting the mail and going to meetings...Its great! ;)
Ha so I've been getting up at 5:30 every morning to work out and all these other Elders decided they wanted to too. So now every morning there's a group that works out in the hall with me. (none of them can finish it or do it right but it's the thought that counts...) then we have "Benson Track" which is another group of Elders who wants to stay in shape so they ask me for a workout during gym time so they can stay in shape. It's kind of fun and it's keeping me sane. Basically getting ripped here in the MTC...;)
There's some really cool kids in my zone that I keep forgetting to tell you about too. Elder Youngblood, he's from Oregon and he was a decathlete for Oregon Ducks before he came here. We've talked a ton about track and even raced to see who was faster. (I won obviously) but he's still really good at jumping and apparently a pretty good javelin thrower too. Also, there's Elder Larsen who played at Northridge High School. He was offered at Utah State and Dixie. He is a BIG kid. The MTC has a weight room...which only has dumbells...and we go lift together all the time. He benches a lot! But he's a good workout partner for sure! Then there's a couple polynesians in our zone that sing together during lunch and dinner and they are crazy singers. Every single one of them could make it on to American Idol and one of their brothers is in the top 40 of American Idol right now. So, it's cool!
Next, we had our meeting with the Argentine Consul on Wednesday. They warned us to not talk about the Church because they have denied Visas to kids who would bother them about it. The guy ended up loving me and talking to me for about an hour about track. He almost made it on the Argentine Olympic Track team for the 100m but didn't quite make it. That was in 2008 by the way. He says that they should take anywhere from 10 to 3 weeks. Which should be just in time for us! Keep your fingers crossed! I'd rather not have to be transfered to another mission for awhile. I can't believe I've already been here 4 weeks though! It's going by pretty fast. I'm glad, because this place is starting to get old. Sitting around all the time is killing my back. It's terrible.
Thanks so much for the protein too! I was getting low again. All I eat is salads, celery, peanut butter and protein bars. So I go through them pretty fast. But I also should be good for awhile. Muchas gracias.
Spanish is coming along very well. I've been speaking it so much sometimes I forget that I was even speaking it! So it's going well. I understand most of conversations and i can reply, it just takes me awhile to conjugate verbs into the right tense, so I can't speak that well. My vocab is limited too, but at least it is coming along:)
I was reading in Jacob 4 this week, and I have read it over about 6 times over. I found some things that were incredibly amazing. I realized how important it is to build faith upon Christ and nothing else. If you build your faith upon Christ it will never fail when other things can. Then, once you have your faith in Christ, and it is strong enough, you can receive the revelation for your questions. But if the answer will shake your faith and hurt your salvation you will NEVER get an answer. I think that it can be a big reason we don't always receive answers to our prayers...as well as He can be giving you a trial. But, in Jacob 4 it also says that trials brings you power. Without trials you can't do the works of God, you need to know your weaknesses so they can become strong or we will never grow. As I thought about that, I realized that every answer, or good thing that has happened to me has been through trials. Even getting good at sports came because of trials. If I wouldn't have faced trials I wouldn't appreciate the talents that I have now either. I wish I could explain it better, but I don't get a ton of time. I hope that makes enough sense.
Last thing, I forgot my locks for my luggage at home. And our branch president told us we absolutely need them, (and they have to be airport approved or something so the airport can check our bags) or the people in Argentina will definitely steal stuff in our bags...I remember dad gave me some, but I didn't bring them and I cannot remember where I put them. If you can't find them I can buy some here just let me know.
Anyway, I think that is it. I miss and love you guys a ton! Keep me posted and please send Dear Elders while I'm in the MTC so I can read them throughout the week. It was a bummer to not hear from you guys this week:( Let me know if I can do anything for you. You are always in my prayers.
Dang! I can't believe that happened in the Superbowl! Dang 49ers were probably cheating some how..I'm glad Ray Lewis won his last Superbowl though!. Tell Jared to check his email, I'm going to send him his own email. That is really sad that the LeBaron's are leaving...Where are they moving to?
So pretty crazy week...pysch! I'm in the MTC. It doesn't really change. My ear is better though. I am starting to hear things from it again. My companion and I are getting along better than we were too. Which helps a lot, because I thought I was going to beat him up for a while.
Also, about the reading the scriptures. I know you (mom) read the scriptures I am just messing with you. It brings a lot of peace, and I believe you should start reading it again as a family because it blesses lives. It's interesting though, I don't feel the same about the Bible. It just doesn't feel as right, and 1Ne 13 it says that the Bible has had all the plain and precious things taken out of it. I would love to hear any insights that you and dad have though. I have all but time to read the scriptures in the MTC. haha Also, tell dad to tell me some of the things he found, because I am interested.
As for the people that I have seen here, I have seen Noah, Tanner Wither, Tanner Frandsen, Colton College (he was on my floor until he left) KJ Griffith, Braxton, Sam Perry, Eric Olenslagger, Josh Shipp, Tyler Shelton, Brandon Armstrong, and a couple others. So, yes. Lots of Lehi kids haha
My leaving date for Argentina was March 4 (6 full weeks here, because you leave on a Monday and they don't count the first half week). But as of two days ago they pushed it back to Feb 25. So I only here for 3 more week from today...which is insane. Our district's spanish is coming crazy fast though, and they decided to kick us out early. As for Spanish, I can't believe how fast I've caught on. I can teach a lesson without any notes, and understand 80% of the words they speak. I'm able to come up with things pretty fast and read the Spanish scriptures and understand everything with a few exceptions. So it is coming along very very well:)
Ha, I got the nickname "HE-MAN" down here. I almost set the mile record...it's on a 160m track so it's hard to run fast because of the hard corners, but I ran 4:58 and the record is 4:56...so I will be going after that again. I'm always tired though, because I'm waking up at 5:30 to get an extra workout in, and then most nights I don't fall asleep until after 11. But, I'm still doing well right now. I had to weight myself for a "MOMENT OF TRUTH" which is where you weight yourself and see how much weight you've gained since you've arrived. I was 180.2...so haven't gained anything yet! haha
Also, tell dad he is doing great with his weight! That is so awesome. If he could just do some core when he wakes up and stretching before he goes to bed, it'll help him a ton too. That's great though! Keep it up!.
Also, I can open packages the day they arrive. Thank you soooooo much for the peanut butter and tuna and everything. It was easily the best thing I could've gotten...The only thing was I didn't have a bowl to make the tuna in. i was think next time you do that, you could get a bunch of mayo packets from Chik-fil-A or something and send those. Haha just an idea.
Last thing cuz I have about 1 min left on my timer. Since we are leaving early, and we might not be able to write our first week in Argentina they are letting us call home before we go to the airport. It only costs $5 and I can talk for a decent while. If that is something you want to gather the family for let me know. I think that'd be really fun. It'd be on Feb 25, but I will let you know exact time and date when I find out. I can't think of anything else at the moment. Everything else is going great. That's it!